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MX News Update 2024

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The spirit of the Tour de France takes over Melaka

Cycling enthusiasts from across the region converged on the historic city of Melaka today for the debut of the Tour de France’s L’Étape Melaka, the third year in a row that the event has been present in Malaysia, as well as the latest venue to host the prestigious event .

Also called ‘the largest amateur cycling event in the world’, Tour de France’s L’Étape offers cyclists the opportunity to push their limits and motivate each other in a spirit reminiscent of the famous Tour de France.

After departing from The Sail Melaka, riders embarked on a picturesque journey that combines cycling with historical exploration. The L’Étape Melaka 2024 is more than just a cycling event; it is a cultural journey set against Melaka’s vibrant heritage. It is presented as a sports tourism experience and consistently attracts many participants every year.

The first L’Étape Melaka of the Tour de France saw a significant turnout, attracting more than 3,350 participants, including 90% international and domestic riders from more than 47 countries. This rise not only reflects the rising popularity of cycling in Asia, but also promotes camaraderie among cyclists from different backgrounds.

Cycling enthusiasts had the chance to experience the adrenaline rush of the Tour de France with route options of 140 km and 70 km. Approved by Tour de France experts, these courses offer a challenge that will appeal to both new and seasoned cyclists as they traverse the Melaka landscape.

Key highlights of L’Étape Melaka included the plethora of festival activities that enriched participants’ interactions away from the racecourse, including a lucky draw with over RM100,000 worth of prizes to be given away, including a Specialized Roubaix SL8 ter worth RM27,000. Other activities include Tour de France memorabilia display, push bike race, sponsor activation booths and more.

“We are very excited to bring L’Étape by Tour de France to Melaka for the first time and during the Visit Melaka Year 2024,” said Riduwan Matni, Group CEO of Muse Group Asia, co-organizers of the event.

“The enthusiasm from both riders and spectators is a testament to the growing cycling community in Asia, and we look forward to further expanding the reach of the event in the coming years.”

One of the highlights of the event was the Specialized Elite Wave, with an exclusive podium ceremony for the winners, adding an extra layer of prestige to the occasion. The male and female winners shared their experiences of the race and reflected on the challenges they faced and the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Former professional cyclist Mohd Hafidz Abd Hamid, who sprinted neck-and-neck with defending champion Matthew Brittain, surged ahead to take the Specialized Elite Wave Men’s championship and said: “It was an unexpected victory and it really was my lucky day. I took a chance, gave it my all and pushed through to the finish.

“There were moments when I almost gave up, but when I saw an opportunity to secure second place (safe choice), I persevered until the last kilometer and gave everything in that final sprint.

“The course was undeniably tough, filled with challenging hills typical of Melaka. Despite modest preparations, luck was on my side and I persevered to win.”

Hailing from South Africa and currently based in Singapore, Alicia Brittain, the reigning champion in the Specialized Elite Wave Women’s category, beamed with enthusiasm as she shared her experiences.

“I’m over the moon. Every race you start from scratch and you have no expectations. I’m just really happy that everything went according to plan. It was a safe race and I was able to hold on and win.

We had really good weather today. Yesterday the rain had cleared, so we had a pleasant temperature. The course was very fluid and fun; we had fast descents and the road quality was great.

The closures really help, and we had plenty of marshals showing us where to go, so all in all you can’t really go wrong. It was just really easy to navigate as long as you move fast enough,” Alicia Brittain said with a grin, emphasizing the camaraderie among the competitors.

In addition to the exciting racing experience, participants had the chance to win exclusive prizes including a Roubaix SL8 worth RM27,000 in a lucky draw.

As the curtains close on the 2024 Tour de France’s L’Étape Melaka, cyclists and spectators alike are left with memories of an unforgettable journey through the historic beauty of Melaka, eagerly anticipating the next edition of this iconic event.

Visit the L’Étape Melaka website, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok for more information, including the race routes, accommodation ideas and other frequently asked questions.